Can You Clean A Printer Drum? (Complete Guide)

Prying a little into a laser printer will introduce you to an elongated cylindrical tube situated above the toner. Wondering what it is?

Well, brace yourselves as this is one of the most important components of the printer! It is known as the drum โ€“ an aluminum tube with a photosensitive coating.

In laser printers, the drum gets electrically charged and assists you while accomplishing tasks. However, this means that it is always in contact with powdered ink, resulting in deposits settling on its exterior.

To get clear prints without any spots or specks, you will need to clean the drums regularly โ€“ a job that requires immense care and patience. So, to help you wing the process, we welcome you to this guide on how to clean a printer drum!

How To Clean A Printer Drum?

What Is A Printer Drum?

A printer drum is a crucial element of a laser printer that gets negatively charged throughout the printing process. Its photosensitive layer is able to gather electrons according to the appearance of the printed output and attract the positively charged ink on those sections.

Afterward, when a sheet passes through the rollers, it touches the drum causing the ink to be pasted on the paper’s surface. This powdered ink is then fused using heat energy, creating sharply printed hard copies for you.

Most of the time, ink is successfully transferred from the toner cartridge to paper, but sometimes, a few specks will remain on the drum’s surface. Over time, these ink particles keep on collecting, causing a notable decrease in the output quality. At such a time, the printer drum is said to be dirty, requiring the user to clean it up before printing.

Why And How Often Should You Clean A Printer Drum?

As we stated before, ink particles keep settling on the surface of your printer’s drum with the passage of time. When left uncleaned, your printed output loses its crispiness and, instead, gains a blurred look. In addition, horizontal or vertical lines are created on the page along with patches, leaving a rather unappealing look. As soon as this happens, you will need to give your printer drum a thorough cleansing.

The time between these clean periods will vary depending on the frequency of your prints. Anyone who prints regularly will need to maintain a weekly or monthly cleaning cycle to ensure proper output is received. On the other hand, printers that are used only once in a while might even function properly for months without requiring any maintenance.

If a person were to delay the cleansing period, their prints would likely become harder to look at. As a result, some of your texts will appear to be too light, while others might seem too dark. Besides that, the printer will also have a harder time scrolling the paper due to the build-up of impurities.

Cleaning Process Of A Printer Drum

Things You Will Need:

  • Latex Gloves
  • Mask
  • Activated Toner Cloth
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Brush with Delicate Ends (e.g., paintbrush)
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Toner Vacuum

Step One: Prepare Yourself

As you probably know, toner cartridges consist of powdered ink, which is bound to fly around and create a mess while cleaning. So, to keep yourself protected, you should gear up with a mask that keeps your nose, mouth, and lungs away from the harmful particles.

A pair of latex gloves should also be sported to ensure that these particles do not hide underneath your nails. The chances of you intaking them by mistake will also be nulled.

Step Two: Getting Your Printer Ready

Around an hour ahead of your cleaning task, turn off your laser printer to allow it to rest. With time, its working components will cool down, letting you clean the interiors without suffering from the risks of electrocution.

Once this one-hour period is over, you will need to work on separating all the removable components. This should be done by opening up the printer according to the directions in the printer manual.

Slowly, work on taking out the toner bottle, cartridge, and finally, the printer drum. Make sure you are not touching the drum’s surface and place it carefully in a dark surrounding. All the parts should be handled carefully and placed in a safe spot.

Step Three: Cleaning the Printer Drum

Activated toner clothes have the ability to pull out all the hidden toner particles from your drum. So, utilize them to wipe the toner’s surface thoroughly and remove as much dirt as possible. Dispose of the toner cloth once done, and if some toner dust still remains, you should use another piece to get them out.

With the toner particles mostly removed, you will now have to concentrate on the ones hiding away to do a proper cleaning job. Grab your paintbrush and by using its soft bristles, clear out all the spots where the activated toner cloth was unable to get into.

Now, the time has come to dip your cotton swab in the bottle containing the rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Then, with small strokes, clean out every nook and cranny, removing all traces of hardened toner dust. You can also use cotton balls to do this and wipe out larger sections.

Step Four: Clean the Other Parts

As all the parts of the printer are detached, you should take this as an opportunity to clean the entire device. Using a piece of microfiber cloth, make sure to scrub the inner walls, corners, and other sections. Check to make sure the rollers are free of dirt, and wipe the wires down with a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

After carrying out this step, leave everything on the table to dry. Any remaining water droplets might result in electrocution that permanently damages the printer.

Step Five: Putting Everything Back Together

To end your cleaning process, you will now be required to put everything back into its original position. Carefully screw the parts in and put the cover back on to avoid dust from collecting. Finally, plug in the power cord and turn on the supply; your printer is now ready to receive printing tasks!